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Written by: academicwriter1 Jun 2012
In chemistry, chemical elements react to form products. This process, however, can be accelerated by use of foreign materials known as catalysts. These materials speed up the rate of a chemical reaction. They do not, however, get consumed in the reaction process. This process, where a catalyst is used in a chemical reaction, is known as catalysis. Catalysis is an important aspect in chemical and industrial processes since the use of catalysts increases the efficiency of chemical processes. A catalyzed reaction produces less chemical waste. The rate of the chemical reaction does not, however, depend solely on the use of catalysts. The other factors involved include the external conditions which the reactants are exposed to; and the nature of the reactants (Eley, 44).
In a chemical reaction, the catalyst is regenerated after chemical combination with molecules of the reactants. In cases where the chemical reaction reverses, the catalyst used accelerates the reaction in both directions of the reaction. In addition to changing the reaction mechanism, a catalyst also reduces the activation energy. In addition to this, a catalyst does not have any effect on the chemical thermodynamics of a reaction (Pich 129).
Chemical catalysts exist in two types, the homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts. The only difference between the two types is their phase in comparison with the phase of the reactants. As the name suggests, a homogeneous catalyst is in the same chemical state as the reacting species in the reaction. A heterogeneous catalyst, on the other hand, is one that is on a different chemical state from the reacting species.
Catalysis can be utilized in industrial chemistry to minimize environmental impact brought about by chemical industries. Hazardous materials are treated by catalysts, where the catalysts speed up there degeneration of these industrial wastes. These waste materials are passed over the chemical catalyst, and all toxic and organic elements end up being filtered out. Industrial yield can also be improved by the use of catalysts in the industrial processes. Most chemical industries, therefore, practice catalysis (Lund, Shiotani and Shimada 273).
Diesel and gasoline emissions into the environment can be significantly reduced by the application of catalysis. Catalytic converters are adopted for use in automotives where pollutants are converted by catalysis hence reducing pollution into the environment. The choice for the appropriate catalyst for a certain chemical reaction depends on several factors. Among these is the pressure and temperature requirement for the reaction. Other considerations include size of the catalyst, its weight, cost and degradation properties. These factors are important because the cost of other industrial requirements have to be put in consideration too (Viswanathan and Ramaswamy 98).
Chemical catalysis is also largely applied in petroleum, environmental and pharmaceutical industries. The petroleum application of catalysis involves the use of chemical catalysts to derive petrochemicals from crude petroleum oil. In the pharmaceuticals field, catalysis is applied to manufacture specific molecules targeting particular functions in the body. Catalysis is also used to purify industrial effluent of toxic waste.
The petroleum industry is driven by the increasing demand for fuels in the world. To meet this demand, the industries use industrial catalysts such as ETBE and MTBE to ensure that there is clean combustion of gasoline. Another application of catalysis is the use of polar solvents such as MIBK. This particular solvent is used in various fields such as mining, pharmaceutics and surface coating. It is also applied in the manufacture of pesticides (Eley 67).
Eley, D. Advances in Catalysis and Related Subjects. Waltham, Massachusetts: Academic Press, 1972. Print.
Lund, Anders, Masaru Shiotani and Shigetaka Shimada. Principles and Applications of ESR Spectroscopy. Berlin: Springer, 2011. Print.
Pich, Andrij. Chemical Design of Responsive Microgels. Berlin: Springer, 2010. Print.
Viswanathan, B. and A. Ramaswamy. Catalysis: Principles and Applications. London: Taylor and Francis, 2002. Print.
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